LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 253

Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.


Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment. Paragraph 1: “God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Martin Luther has been attributed many great quotes. Some not so great, but some great indeed. One great one I’m told came from him was, “There are only two days on my calendar. Today and the Day of Judgment.” Amen. Christianity is escape from wrath. The Cross allows a son or daughter of Adam to literally “settle out of court” with God as a son or daughter. Forgiveness. Pardon. Freedom. Life without the sentence of eternal miserable prison hanging over it. The Gospel is more than just a summons to consider this, but it’s not less. Jesus teaches us both how to live and how to die. The Christian can die without fear.

I’ve already spoken in detail about the judgement to come as the confession helps to lay out and express. That day is coming. It’s closer today than on the first day after Jesus’ Resurrection. It’s closer than when I began this confessional reflection series back in 2014. Judgment is afoot. Ray Comfort, one of my favorite teachers, gave us a wonderfully clear analogy on judgment. He used to be a surfer where he grew up in New Zealand. He said you’d be out on the water and someone would call out, “Big set coming.” If you looked out to the horizon, he said you’d see these small white lines in the water. You’d then begin paddling inland like crazy because you knew that in seconds those small lines would be a massive wave under you. He said that the prophets looked ahead in the Spirit and declared to the world the judgment to come in Christ shouting, “BIG set coming!” Folks, the wrath of God is perfect. Appointed. White hot. Waiting. Terrifying. More terrifying than the worldwide flood. He is holy and he plays for keeps. His wrath is pure and fitting. Proportional. Righteous. Etc. I truly believe that. The confession affirms this here also. It’s coming. He’s coming. What’s invisible will be made visible.

John 5:24 is among the most succinct passages in the New Testament about what the Gospel of Jesus Christ literally means. In it, Jesus joyously declares: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Once Jesus’ righteousness is gifted to the believer the judgment the confession speaks of here is literally escaped from. (See Romans 4/ and this sermon called, “The Sufficiency of Grace”) When one accepts the life of Christ as the offering for his or her own sins committed, they’re royally pardoned or seen as justified in God’s sight. This is the way. In this same chapter’s vv. 22-23a, the King says, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father…” These passages show us the judge’s offer of deliverance from judgment. What an offer! What love! What mercy there is in God! He himself is therefore ultimately the sinner’s only solution and only problem.

That Jesus says this judgment is his is what the confession speaks of when saying, “…to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father.” This is a perfect affirmation of Jesus’ Deity. We breeze right past such statements but shouldn’t. Who can be said to be the judge of all men expect their God? No one. No angel. No mere man. No group of men are equal to such a role. No, only the one who loosed the scrolls can be honored as God. Revelation 5:1-5. John says (as cited above in John 5:24) that all men are to “honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” How do you “honor the Father”? As God? As judge? Then honor the Son equally as God and judge also because it’s who he is. Trinity.

The fallen angels will also be judged and sentenced as God sees fit. It too will be perfect. The saints will even perhaps bear their witness. 1 Corinthians 6:3. God has no plan of redemption for the angels that fell.

The judgment believer’s face will not result in death, but is only a type of judgment of works and reward. 1 Corinthians 3. The judgment of the unredeemed will not result in life.

Joseph Pittano

No Comments